How Music Got Its Edge Back: Indie Meets Rap

Hip-Hop and rap are experiencing a strong resurgence of late (don’t call it a comeback!). After years of indie rock and pop ruling the airwaves, young people are looking for a new sound to call their own, branching out into electronic and rediscovering rap.At SXSW this year, fans could catch shows from heavy hitters including Jay-Z, Eminem, 50 Cent, and Wiz Kalifa, as well as lesser-known acts.Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg are headlining Coachella this summer.

The meshing of the indie and rap scenes is having an interesting effect on music. Taking a cue from indie bands, newer acts like Azealia Banks are creating a new sound that could almost be called “Indie Rap.” The Harlem-native’s songs are most definitely “R-rated” and fierce, but instead of rhyming about “thug life,” she raps about urban life, making her badass, but also relatable. It’s that cross-over potential that brings both rap fans and indie fans to her shows.

Urban music needed an infusion of edge to recapture the attention of young people. Hip-hop legends like Jay-Z and Kanye have gone mainstream, getting wider airplay and gaining older fans (while simultaneously cleaning up their style, rapping less about illegal activities and more about luxury lifestyle). Young music fans were looking for something to call their own — music their parents wouldn’t listen to but that they could still relate to. It’s the same reason they’re straying away from the indie genre: hipsters and soccer moms aren’t supposed to like the same music.

In the same vein as acts like Odd Future, Azealia Banks is making her mark by being irreverent and very NSFW, simultaneously alienating older audiences and intriguing young Millennials. The video for her biggest hit so far, “212,” has been viewed more than 7.5 million times, but contains so many naughty…

 
 
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Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “I'm trying to save roughly $5,000 to buy a vehicle. It will take me another 6 months or so.” –Male, 16, NC

The year started with a report that teens are leaving Facebook, and it’s ending the same way. A report this week showed that 88% of 13-17-year-olds were using the network in 2014, a drop from 94% in 2013. We’ve looked at the reasons that teens just aren’t as interested in Facebook before, and Ypulse’s latest social media tracker survey actually showed that currently only 63% of 13-17-year-olds say they use Facebook. (Mashable)

Millennial tastes are shaping the future of fast food, and majorly impacting longstanding brands. But what chains are keeping them happy now? YouGov BrandIndex ranked the restaurant chains that 18-33-year-olds would consider going to again to gauge their current brand loyalty. Gourmet sandwich chain Jimmy John’s topped the list, with 83% saying they would return. Chipotle, Chick-fil-A, Whataburger, and Subway made up the rest of the top five, in that order. (Business Insider)

Video sharing competition is heating up. Former Hulu CEO Jason Kilar has launched Vessel, his new subscription video service, which has been predicted to be a YouTube competitor. To entice creators to post content, they’re being offered $50 for every thousand views in the first three days they are posted, ifthey are only posted on Vessel. After a “72-hour exclusive window” the content can be shared on other sites. Currently Vessel is only open to creators, and a consumer launch “is pending.” (StreamDaily)

Kids are often shielded from adult content, usually because it is deemed too violent. But in reality, their bright cartoons might feature more carnage than grown-up fare. A recent study looked at the biggest children’s and adult movie hits in the same year and found that “two thirds of the 45 highest grossing children’s animated films feature an onscreen death of a major character” compared to half of the top “non-kid” films. “Death and destruction” are just a regular part of your average animated classic. (NYMag)

‘Tis the season for gift swaps, including the sinister favorite White Elephant—also known as Yankee Swap and Nasty Christmas. Old Navy is featuring the game in their holiday Vine campaign. Each day a video reveals gifts, from a high-end trip to a pogo stick, that will be given out, and every person who re-Vines or likes the clips is entered to win. The brand has also tapped 12 popular Viners to create their own clips in which they steal a previously opened gift or stay with the gift of the day. (Old Navy)

That image at the bottom of our newsletter is a gateway to insights and expert commentary on current and future Millennial trends. Clicking on it takes readers to our daily insights article, available to Silver and Gold tier subscribers, which illuminates a facet of Millennial culture and helps subscribers to understand the "why" behind the "what." Drawing from our ongoing collection of proprietary data, our deep-dive desk research, and our 10-year history of studying this generation, we figure out what it all means for brands and marketers. (Ypulse)

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